Thursday, December 31, 2009

a whole month of...

I always have trouble with this month off. It's not quite enough time to really relax and get bored enough to be motivated to do something meaningful, and it is certainly too long to keep up what's left of last semester's energy. I suppose that's alright, seeing as I had no energy remaining from last semester (though dropping Greek improved the situation magnificently).

That being said, I feel it is appropriate to share with you my goals for this holiday and said goals' current status:
1. Rest-- Yes! This one has been going quite well. I sleep at LEAST eight hours a night, but usually quite a bit more, and spend most of the day resting. I'm saving up for next semester.
2. Read a bunch-- Not so much. The teensy bit of reading I've done has not even been on my list.
3. Knit/Crochet my eyes out-- Yes! My hands hurt from all the knitting I've done.
4. Assess freshman essays--Well, I haven't worked on this yet, but it does actually need to get done. It's my job. I'm starting tomorrow.
5. Memorize senior recital repertoire--ACH!! NOT DONE! I don't wanna talk about it...
6. Stay warm-- Not happening. I'm hoping that my landlords realize the huge mistake they've made in installing electric baseboard heaters, repent, and turn on the radiators! We'll see. (fingers crossed!)

So, not too bad. However, the important ones (4 and 5) have not been moving at a satisfactory pace as of yet. Soon! ;-)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

scroll down

Did you do it? You didn't scroll down yet. If you're still reading this, stop now and scroll down to the very bottom of the page. NOW.

Still reading? Did you not hear me?!

Okay, so I'm assuming now that you have returned from the bottom of the page and remember what it said. At the bottom of this page is the exhortation to the Israelites to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. This commandment used to terrify me. Why, you ask? Well, I'd sure love to tell you.

I grew up in a world where perfection was merely the lack of sin. It sounds a bit extreme, but it's the best way I have to describe it. If I ever did anything right, it was by the grace of God (which it is) and anything I did wrong was not only not right, but was the worst thing I could ever have done. I'm not really sure where I got this idea, but I have a hunch (or something stronger) that this is a result of my evangelical Protestant upbringing. Everything was black and white. You lie about brushing your teeth, you're grounded for two weeks. You get an A minus in English class, you're not allowed to do so many extracurriculars next get the point.

Eventually my parents loosened up significantly, which is good news for my 15-yr-old sister, and really for me as well, though the damage had already been done. Now, I am not trying to condemn my parents--rather, I think they prevented me from becoming a psycho. I actually blame the ideals espoused by the church of my youth. Yep, I'm that cliche young adult letting go of "everything" she knows to be good and honest and right to embrace pot-smoking, crack-dealing, prostituting ways from this day forward! ;-)

I've learned this year that there is a difference between the question "is this right or wrong?" and the question "what are the consequences of this action?". I've learned to take myself less seriously, to lighten up and embrace the sins that fall into my lap as gifts intended for my learning and betterment as a human being, and to take some of those "sins", embrace them, and forget them. There is a merit to remembering sins, but not to clinging to the past for dear life--the result is not life, but death. Jesus did not sit with his disciples and enumerate their past failings. He simply called them out of whatever they were doing and gave them a new path. Nowhere does Jesus say, "Well, Peter, you really SHOULD have...and in the future you really COULD be a much better person...". He commands us without shaming us, drawing us steadily and lovingly into his arms. When we mess up, we repent, and he is standing right there, welcoming us in.

The upshot of all this is that we then must respond to this love. Yeah, I know, this is the point--why haven't I thought of this before? Well, the truth is, people have been telling me this my whole life, but I always thought it meant that I should try to better my personal morality as a way of thanking God for his forgiveness. For example, if I lied, I thought that I should be very conscious of my level of honesty and make sure it's constantly top-notch. Outreach and social justice work were far from my mind, and I unknowingly ignored them to pursue my personal betterment--Oh, the IRONY! The appropriate respond to God's love is gratitude, which we then channel into our communities and share with others!

Anyway, I could probably go on about my faith musings from this semester, but I don't have the energy. I'd rather do something with my hands--I'm off to my bookbinding!


dear world

Dear World: A circular poem of reflection


Friday, September 4, 2009

a surprise blessing (the best kind!)

Haha! I met with my dearest professor, Helen, yesterday to talk with her about the mess in my head (see previous post). Of course, she was as wonderful as I always expect her to be, and our conversation went something like this:

" I feel like it would really help me to go live in a women's commune for awhile until I get sick of all of the estrogen and go crazy. That would actually help a lot. Other than that, I'm not really sure what to do."
[Helen nods and mmm's in agreement]

"Anyway, I think I might go to my parents' this weekend to try to get away, but I also hate the suburbs so I'm not really sure how helpful that will be...grrr...*general grumbling*"
[Helen looks at me patiently, as always, and then suddenly perks up:]

Helen: "Well, I can offer this to could come to Plow Creek this weekend. Some women at Reba are going for the weekend to this Women's Circle and we're going to learn to butcher and pluck chickens and we'll meditate and just get away and be a bunch of anarchist women. It sounds like that might be helpful to you..."

Me: "Awww! Wow, Helen, that's great. Can you send me the information?"

And so, that is how I came to be frantically preparing for a weekend under the stars. I don't have a tent, nor do I want one, and I don't have a camp stove, but I think Helen might. I'll be spending the weekend living outside and climbing trees, cooking communal meals, and participating in discussion groups with topics such as "Sexuality and Health" and "Faith, Spirituality, and Anarchism". Oh, and there's dancing. So, it's basically perfect.

Anyway, I'm very grateful to my dear Helen for her invitation and her patience and love. She's a pretty great lady.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

life as I know it

Well, school is back in full swing and with it comes all of the ups and downs of homework, campus jobs, relationships, and lack of adequate sleep and nutrition. Also, the fact that my bike was stolen over a month ago has created its own set of problems.

Driving to the grocery store: $5

Taking CTA to dance class: $4.50 minimum

Walking back and forth from apartment to school: one or two meals per day

Biking everywhere: Priceless

I think that I've probably lost more weight in the past two weeks than I did all summer since I have been less mobile than usual. It means that not only do I have to walk everywhere, I also eat less because I'm too poor to eat out and I'm too much of a food snob to buy anything truly portable--everything that I want to eat needs to be either hot or refridgerated.

It's not all bad, though. Even though I'm annoyed with my lack of bike, I've gotten to know the knooks and krannies of my neighborhood and I've found tons of bottle caps for my latest crochet project. Even though I have many moments when I wish I hadn't come to North Park and that my whole life had been different, I am reminded in these moments of where I've been and can use the memories to see where I'd like to go. Even though I'm in love with a man and we're both a little too messed up to be together right now, the fact that we two decided together that we loved each other enough to let go gives me hope for our future. Even though I don't really want to be in 90% of my classes, I have great mentors who are willing to meet with me to advise and lend an ear to my whining.

There's a lot in my head right now, but it doesn't want to come out in sensible chunks (does it ever?) so I'll leave you with that. Just some food for thought.

Back to work.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

forward and back

I never thought I'd say this, but I miss this mess on my desk. Sure, this picture brings up memories of times I'd rather forget, including among other things many many hours of paper-writing and agonizing over my sins. However, the multitude of drinking apparati also remind me of cold days greeted by a hot mug of tea or a hearty glass of water. It also reminds me of slightly simpler days: days before rent, before actually caring what my roommates think about my dish-doing abilities/desires (or lack thereof), before making more phone calls per day than I ever thought possible...sigh. However, the days of homework and drudgery are soon returning and I cannot wait. I know, I listed that as one of the memories I'd prefer to forget, but that's because if I forget it, I will approach this new semester with more confidence instead of being bogged down by my memories of being bogged down. Fall semester of my senior year, here I come!!

what I want most

What I want most in this moment is an eighty-seven degree day complete with a post-sunset thunderstorm that lasts for at least three hours. It's what I have been looking forward to for quite some time now, and it would just make my life. That being said, I have many other reasons by which my life is being made just now, so I'm grateful.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

shingles update

Well, Mr. Luke is making a slow yet steady recovery from his bout with shingles. I believe it's been about 8-10 days since the onslaught, and the standard time of illness is generally around 12-16 days (numbers depend on their source). So, considering he was just recently quite ill and slogging around all day and slightly drowsy from the miniscule amount of vicadin he could be given for the pain, he's doing quite well. The last I heard, yesterday, was that he was able to go to work for a few days (praise the LORD!), though he um...vomited...on a few occasions in those days. He thinks that's probably his stomach's reaction to the vicadin. It looks like things are getting better for our dear Luke-y-poo. (I do not call him that. Our funny nineteen-year-old friend calls him that.)

Anyway, all prayers--past, present, and future--are much appreciated.

Friday, July 17, 2009


I think that's an awesome word. The first time I saw the noun "housewife" adapted to refer to a skill that one might possess, I was reading Wendell Berry, and I was thrilled. It seems that the word "housewife" has collected many a negative connotation in its day, and I am here to correct these slightly misplaced ideas. Pardon my arrogance in even attempting this post, as I claim to be an expert in nearly nothing, and especially not in the precise history of feminism.

Once upon a time, most people were farmers with farmer wives and farm children and farmer neighbors and farm towns. Men did the hard outside work because women did the equally delicate and equally respected work of caring for the household and raising the children (to which they also, incidentally, gave birth). Men and women were required by their environment to possess certain skills and a certain level of creativity and ingenuity. All sorts of real, in-your-face problems would appear, day after day, and you had only your family and friends to help you. No "experts", no "consultants", just everyday intelligent folks.

Times were good, but some people thought that they could be better. The era of industrialization appeared on the horizon, and with it came inventions such as tractors, delivery trucks, and milking machines. Some farmers began to buy into these seemingly helpful devices and their farms grew larger and larger, and the increase in production decreased the cost which increased demand. Enter the evil villains like the Chicago meat-packing factories (please see The Jungle by Upton Sinclair for further information). These factories that appeared called for men to come to work for them, since only a few farmers were needed to actually farm and the rest of the farmers needed new work. It was at this time that the man's job began to support his household by earning money for buying things.

Slowly, as industrialization took more and more farms and more and more ex-farmers were going to work in the factories, the women became restless. Their men were at work all day doing some job that the women did not see them doing and so could not understand. Instead of coming home from farming, a job that women can and must take part in, he came home from a "work" outside the household and community, creating distance between man and his wife. She began to feel at once unimportant (or at least less so) and curious. What does he do all day? What does his work produce?

Enter the beginnings of feminism. Feminism did not begin as a man-hating, bra-burning, free-sex movement designed to allow women to be as masculine as they wanted/needed to be of use in the world. It began as an effort on woman's part to experience this new world, to be appreciate again, to "contribute" to the family by earning money instead of by taking care of the household and family as they always had done. Of course, once "contribution" became the goal, it followed that men and women should be payed the same amount so that each could "contribute" equal financial parts to the household.

Well, we all know where this leads. Now, women are encouraged to be as masculine as possible, presumably so as to be worthy of earning as much as men, of being hired for the same jobs as men, and being hired for the same reasons as men. The housewife is a thing of the past. If a woman today is a housewife, it is assumed that she has little to no self-respect or business skill, is completely subservient to her husband, or has no ambition to make a "contribution" to the world. Having more than the average 2.5 children is thought of as insane, and spending more than ten minutes on dinner because you care about your family's health is snobbery and a waste of time.

But I say NO (I'm sure you didn't see that coming, ha-HA!). For you women who are in business of your own choosing and enjoy it, I applaud you. I applaud you further if you remain feminine in the process. Men and women are different. By fighting this basic truth, we unwittingly yet forcefully acknowledge its verity. Use your femininity to your advantage, and don't worry so much about how much you make. Fairness is an illusion, anyhow.

For the women who are housewives of their own choosing and enjoy it, I embrace you. In this day and age, being a businesswoman is likely just as good as being a housewife, but I think it's especially important to encourage housewives since they are a dying breed. Ideally, your being a housewife suggests that at the very least, you feel that your work is appreciated by your husband and your friends, and perhaps at the most, your husband's work is familiar to you and it does not necessarily "contribute" financially to the household as much as it contributes to the value and sanctity of your work together.

All that is to say, I plan on being a strong, mighty housewife (Lord willing) with many children (screw birth control...pun intended) and more skills than the Catskills mountains. That doesn't mean I won't work at all--housewives can work a little bit, as they always did on the farms of the old days--but that I will also be quite adept at cooking, cleaning, mending, sewing, fixing, teaching, and rubbing the old man's shoulders when he comes in at the end of the day. I will not be subservient, nor will I be bossed around or unappreciated. As declared by Athena of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, "It's true, de man is de head of de house...But, de woman is de neck, and she can turn de head a-ny way she wants!"

I bought a skirt really cheap at a thrift store today, but it's too big. I'm taking it in on my overnight shift.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


My dearest Cindy,

I know you will find your way to this post eventually, and I just wanted to say that I love you and miss you and I hope you're having a good time and not stressing out too much about your wedding which is in twenty-three days!! I am so looking forward to seeing you, even if it's just for a moment to give you a hug and a kiss and a "congratulations".

Take care of yourself and your in-laws in Hawaii. I'll see you in August, my dear.



Lately, I've been having a few small conversations with my boss, Mark. He's a good guy and I'm glad to be working for him. Since he's a baritone and I'm a mezzo, we have lots to talk about in terms of repertoire and gigs and whatnot, and we have similar taste in books (though for different reasons, I think). Anyway, he's been on the sidelines of my apartment-hunting excitement and all of the fun that goes with it--phone calls to gas companies who are as unhelpful as possible, phone calls to the electric and internet companies, phone calls/letters to roommates, errands, get the idea. Periodically I will take a moment to whine to Mark just a little bit about my newfound adult responsibilities, and the conversation usually goes a little something like this:

Me: "Ugh. I'm so tired of making phone calls and running errands! When these errands are finished, I will finally get to rest."

Mark: "The errands never end. Just when you finish one set of errands, another appears. If you just resign yourself to the fact that you will be doing errands for the rest of your life, it will become easier to do them. *pause* I'm sorry, I hope I'm not discouraging you. I'm just trying to be realistic."

Me: *sigh* "Well, you are being quite realistic. I'd like to think that this particular batch of errands is especially annoying, but I understand what you're saying..."

Another conversation went like this:

Me: "Oh, my gosh! Why does adulthood have to be so stinkin' hard? I mean, it's worth it and all, and I know the responsibilities I now have are a sign that I'm coming into my own, but really? Am I going to be making phone calls for the REST of my LIFE?"

Mark: "Yes, often when we reach adulthood, we curse its little annoyances and demands. We want to say 'Why me? Can't someone else make these phone calls?'. But really, that just translates into 'Can't I just be a child and have someone else make all of my decisions for me so that I can run around and play?'. So really, you're better off--this way, you get to make your own decisions."

Me: "Yeah, yeah. I know. Without the 'fun' of all of this work, life would be boring and meaningless...yada yada yada..." *I stalk away to pout for a little while longer*

Needless to say, Mark has been especially helpful to me in my forays into adult responsibilities. Without him, I may be prone to wallowing in self-pity and enduring the sting of false expectations proven wrong. He has saved me from myself. ;-)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

letting go

I am so uptight, it's crazy. I know this about myself, but I still have moments where I freak out about my tiny imperfections. Everyone has crap to deal with--why am I such a Puritan?!?!

I think that much of this could be explained by the fact that I am the first-born child of my parents'. First-born children are often perfectionists, very hard on themselves, and likely hard on others though they may also try to do everything for others whom they view to be incompetent. Anyone that knows me is reading this and thinking, "Yeah...prettymuch." I have always been a spectacular student, very morally sensitive, sensitive in general, and given to taking over excessive amounts of responsibility, especially when I feel that if I don't do something, it will not get done. I always end up doing too much, whether it be involvement in school activities (emotionally or temperally), work, or accepting extra responsibilities. Then, when I fail to measure up to my own ridiculous expectations (which I inevitably do), it's the end of the world.

Another reason may be that my dad grew up in an insanely conservative household. The funny thing about that is that many of his family members were/are rather "immoral" by conservative standards, but I guess that's why those people are generally ignored by the rest of the family. My aunt had a baby girl when she was seventeen and then she married another guy, one of my uncles has been married three times and divorced twice, and another of my uncles had a shotgun wedding because his girlfriend got pregnant with my cousin. My grandparents don't get along half the time. I think the only "normal" person in my dad's family is my dad, though he screwed it up by marrying my mom, who had a "history" and was even more poor than my father (my grandmother tried to break them up for sixteen years until she finally realized that they were going to stay married). And everyone acts like everything is okay!! I think my dad's family would be much healthier if they just acknowledged that they're screwed up.

Anyway, that being said, I need to chill out. I've been advised by my loving boyfriend to "just smoke some pot or something"--really, just to get out there and make some unsafe choices. This does not necessarily mean that I need to do stupid things like smoke pot and get arrested, just that I should go outside myself and meet some different sorts of people and pop the stupid bubble that I live in. I think that's exactly what I need, and I've been waiting for someone to tell me that for a long time. People usually just tell me that it'll be okay, but that just perpetuates my perfectionism and obsession.

That being said, freedom is on the way.

Monday, July 13, 2009

sleep, shingles, and supers

Due to scheduling negligence, I have been required to work, on a fairly regular basis, at 7:00am the day after a 3-11 shift or the day after the day after an overnight. You would think that at this point, I would be fairly good at such turnarounds, but NO. I think that I've ignored my alarm approximately 74.2% of the time on such days. This morning, I woke up exactly four minutes before my shift was supposed to start, so I called the desk. It turns out that the RD was working, which made me feel even worse because he actually has a real job--it's not like when you're late for a shift and you make another DA wait for you. We can just wait because we have nothing better to do. Anywho, I'm exhausted. My body is very angry with me for not having a regular weekly rhythm and for not sleeping a solid 7.5 hours per night.

Luke, who is in North Dakota and is supposed to be working for his dad, has shingles. You know, the horribly painful, adult version of chicken pox shingles. It started as an ear infection that travelled to his lymph nodes and then to a painful rash on his face, which made me really worried about him. He has trouble with his kidneys so the doctors could only give him a child's dose of antibiotics, which is how he became susceptible to shingles. He's on vicadin for the pain which makes him groggy, but otherwise doing okay. Well, he is supposed to be working, but I think maybe it's good for him to get a rest after his business these past few months.

So, we ended up getting the apartment that I spoke of in my last post. It's a bit small, and it's in a slightly scary neighborhood, but it will be home. We're in the same building as our friends, which is nice, and their apartment is only slightly different than ours. One of their "bedrooms" is actually a really small den with no closet, and they have no front closet, but they have one cabinet's worth of extra space in the kitchen and a somewhat larger living room. We actually have closets in all of our bedrooms, though our living room is a little tiny. I like ours better, though, because we're on the third floor so my bedroom feels like it's in a treehouse, and our wood floors are much darker. It makes it a bit warmer in the place, and much nicer than the carpeted mess we had on Carmen. So, I'm moving in two weeks! My super is also super-nice, though I didn't know what he was called, so when I called Luke I referred to Kevin as the "groundskeeper". I think I'll just keep calling him that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

not another fourth (3rd) of july rant

If you would like to see my general opinion on military-driven "holidays", please refer to Matt's post or to Josef Piper's book In Tune With the World: A Theory of Festivity. I rarely have the energy for such a thing as a fiery rant, so I tip my hat to those who do and move on to less exciting issues that are much more enjoyable to write about.

It's a slow week here at the desk. I'm sitting Campus Center, generally my favorite for weekdays, but due to the "holiday" tomorrow everyone else has the day off. Jerry Murphy and I have a chance at becoming good friends today as we schluff around doing our various duties. Only two worries are dancing around in my mind at the moment, so I guess you could call it a great day: my bike seat won't stay up and my roomate(s) is(are) being ridiculous.

Despite what you may think, these two worries are actually very closely related. You see, I have been spending 90% of my free time hunting down the "perfect" apartment, which at this point means the "apartment-that-doesn't-cost-too-much-and-is-relatively-clean-and-safe". Perhaps an indicator of my naivete, my disillusionment with the real estate industry has been compounded by the fact that it is so blasted difficult to find an apartment in the city of Chicago. Yes, an apartment, in Chicago.

Yeah, yeah, so there are a lot of factors. We're looking for a three-bedroom in our price range, preferably with heat included, preferably with enough room to hold at least some of my mildly-excessive furniture collection, and preferably with a closet in each room. Not really too much to ask, if you ask me.

Well, last week I found the place. It was perfect. Truly. It had everything we were specifically looking for and an additional front sunroom, enclosed back porch, dishwasher, front yard, and faux fireplace flanked by the ever-popular built-in bookshelves. It was an entertainer's paradise. Seeing as my roommates and I share many friends but also have our own friends, and all of us like to have people over on a fairly regular basis (though not all the time), I decided to pounce on it. I called the landlord and he emailed a rental application to me. I called/texted the one roommate who's sort of in town (the other is in Vermont and only snail-mail accessible) and told her the good news, expecting her to respond shortly.

Two days later and I hadn't heard from her. I had filled out my form and was trying valiantly to reach her. We made an appointment with the landlord, but forty-five minutes before we reached him, he called to say he had just rented out the place. Drat!

Needless to say, I was quite upset seeing as I had thought that we were through with the whole hunting process. I frantically scoured the listings on CraigsList and biked around the neighborhood surrounding North Park for hours on end. This is where the bike seat comes in.

So, all of this biking has been wonderful for my legs--combined with my flamenco class, I should be all toned-up by the end of the summer--but also not-so-wonderful. My knees hurt because my bike seat keeps sliding down. The day that I apartment-hunted forever, I finally fixed the bungee-cord rack to my seat post, and took the opportunity to attempt to raise it once more.

Well, I found the most recent "perfect" apartment yesterday and I biked over there. By the time I arrived for my showing, the seat was down again. And I can't get ahold of my roommate...again.

Perhaps they're mystically connected, and if I fix the bike seat, all of my apartment troubles will come to an end.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

hello, world

Allow me a moment to recap my life over the past few weeks...

A) If I worked any more, I think I would collapse into a puddle. True, I do sit at a desk and do whatever I want when I'm at work (reading, crocheting, spinning [yarn, not the chair], etc.), but the very fact that I am confined to one small space for eight hours at a time restricts how much time I have to do errands the rest of the day. I don't know how anyone expects to be married, work forty hours a week, have children, and expect to take care of their household cheerfully and without destroying their family. I'm adding workaholism to my list of things destroying marriage that do not directly pertain to homosexuality. Working strange hours (or too many) is simply not good for the body's natural rhythm.

B) Flamenco. I was a little nervous at first, but dancing flamenco is actually really fun. My class is tiny and everyone else has taken flamenco before at some point, but I'm still catching on really well. It's very sexy--I think I'll try to get Luke to take it with me in the fall. ;-)

C) Although it's third on the list, going to church is likely my favorite thing right now. I don't know what I would do without church and without the God who established it.

D) I've definitely been procrastinating a lot. I have a constant argument with myself--either I am somehow afraid of doing something, so I wait, or I'm not worried about getting it done, so I waith. Sometimes, I'm worried but I try to not worry and therefore keep myself from doing it so that I will learn not to worry, but then it doesn't get done. Other times, I'm not worried and try to make myself worry but it still doesn't get done because I go back to the cycle of worry/try not to/will learn not to. It's ridiculous. I know that this is my reaction to the hyper-controlled robot-fest that was my life, but there has to be a happy medium somewhere.

E) Shortly, I will be returning to therapy. I had a counselor for a while in high school and she was GREAT. Then I had a counselor last fall and she was INSANE. I'm hoping this new lady is more on the GREAT side of the scale, as I would like to avoid weird stories about people having sex in the woods outside small villages in Poland. Not entirely relevant...

F) Luke is still gone, but tomorrow he'll be in North Dakota instead of Canada, so we can actually talk! I've spoken to him for a whole forty-five minutes this month, so I am very much looking forward to talking for a good long time tomorrow. It's still lame not having him here, but he'll be back soon enough.

Yeah, that took longer than I thought it would.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the view

The view out my window right now is absolutely perfect. I will not take a picture of it because that would just ruin it, but I can describe it to you. I'm looking into my neighbors' backyard, which from here looks slightly overgrown with different kinds of vines and flowers. There is one plant in particular that is climbing up the corner post of the stairs. I can see these cream and burgungy stairs climbing up the back of the apartment building and they're covered in pots full of flowers of all colors--red, yellow, pink. There's a neat little trellis coming off of the second floor porch with more plants hanging off of it, and I can see a tiny peek of a bike wheel. Hanging from this stiarcase are two windchimes which are sitting silently at the moment, waiting for a whisp of wind to set them singing. My favorite part of this whole scene, however, is one small, old-fashioned thermometer. It is round and made of what used to be a silver metal, but is now a bit rusted, and it is hanging dutifully on a hanging post with a curlique end. The sun is setting now on the scene outside my window, and I welcome it. Tomorrow is a new day with fresh sunshine for more gazing.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

conflicted--what else is new?

I'm still having that argument with myself about whether or not my reliance on technology has escalated to unhealthy proportions. I feel like I've been having this argument with myself a lot lately. Here's how it goes...

Compared to my family and most of the rest of American society, my dependence on technology is quite minimal. My cousin sends/receives 12,000 text messages per month, my immediate family watches more TV than I could ever imagine sitting still for, and I am far from being dependent on Facebook for survival. I laugh at advertisements geared toward the "technological generation", then laugh at myself because the laughter in my head makes me sound like an old lady (which I may very well be...more on that later). I try to use my car as little as possible, I haven't logged into my AOL Instant Messenger account in years, and I do not have, nor do I EVER want, an iPod.

On the other hand, I am on the computer more than I would like to be, mostly because of my summer boredom. I just bought a rather fancy phone with a QWERTY keyboard because it increases the speed of data-entry, and I use my PDA for all of my appointments, contacts, and some of my tasks. I would like to sell my crocheted things online, I sit here blogging, and email has become my primary mode of communication with my boyfriend since he's in Canada (with a bunch of malfunctioning technology).

So, what do I do? I think maybe it's about time for a technology fast. I'm writing specifically about electronic devices used for communication or entertainment. Could I go a day without my computer? A week without my cell phone? A month without watching movies?

Truly, at this point in my life I find this a tad unrealistic. First of all, I have gone almost two weeks without my cell phone, computer, PDA, and any sort of music player. That was over Spring Break when we were in Iowa, happily surrounded by nature and close community, with no need to communicate with the "outside world" (not to mention eight joyous years of Girl Scout Camp). I gave up Facebook for Lent two years ago and it was so freeing! I actually didn't want to go back. So I know that I can do these things within certain contexts. Let us note the specifics:

*Nature seems to be a key component. When I'm surrounded by the beauty of Creation it's all I can think about because I see, hear, smell, taste, and touch it everywhere I go.
*Community has also been an important factor in my successful detachments from technology. The people immediately around me have the same effect as Creation (um, because they're part of it?) and they draw me away from myself, from boredom, and from pride. The forming of close community is an art form that requires untold balance and patience that can only come from God. Why ignore that sort of challenge for loosely-bound, non-commital "community"?
*Food. Never underestimate the power of a good meal. A good meal, even and especially one prepared and eaten in silence, provides more satisfaction than any amount of time spent responding to endless emails. This category is included in the much larger category of Work.
*Last but most definitely not least, communion with God is critical for without Him we are nothing and can do nothing. We have no power. God is IT.

So what does this mean for you and I? How do we respond to the fact that our dependence on "social networking sites" (I think that phrase is funny because it sounds hoity-toity) is actually diminishing our ability to respond emotionally to stimuli--essentially, that we are losing our humanity? I want to be human! It seems like this means that I will have to find myself a place nestled in nature with a patiently persistent community where I can make and eat good food and worship God with my life and work. Hmmm...I have some ideas on how city life makes this nearly impossible, but they will have to wait until next time.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

crochet joy

Thanks to my (fairly) new job at Campus Center, I have the joy and privilege of crocheting as much as I could possibly want. We're talking hours and hours of crocheting per day. My fingers, wrists, and upper back are unbelievably sore and it's GREAT!

Currently, I'm finishing a rug that will take some more yarn so it's on hold for a bit. Also, I'm working on an afghan for my mother who asks me "When are you going to make something for me?" every time she sees me working on a project--also may take a while since most of it is done in single crochet. And, as if that's not enough, I started what is called a "Metropolitan Wrap", the pattern for which I found in my new pattern book, The Big Book of Crochet! It's done in afghan stitch and I'm not very good at it yet and it really hurts my hands, so that one will also be a long time a-comin'. I've decided that I need to do a couple little projects to give me a feeling of accomplishment--like the hat I made for Luke before he left (five hours) or some socks or fingerless gloves or a dish towel or something.

I'm also thinking that I'll try knitting again. I learned years ago, but I was never any good at it, and I feel like if you're going to be a crocheter, you have to be a knitter just so you can respond to the question "Oh, what are you knitting?" with "Actually, it's crochet, but I do also knit" so that you don't feel like an idiot. Knitting is just too popular. I don't know why more people don't crochet--only one hook! Hello?! And it's much easier to make doilies with crochet, which is why they sell doily thread and call it "crochet thread". So there. ;-)

(No offense to knitters. I know quite a few rather accomplished knitters, and some who also know how to crochet, which I appreciate greatly. There are also many things that are better knit, like socks and scarves.)

Thursday, June 4, 2009


One would think that with all of my introspection and sensitivity and general desire to improve myself as a human being, I would have learned how to trust by now. Perhaps that is a foolish notion, but I have been learning to trust for a long time, repeating the same struggles and coming to the same conclusions again and again. Each time, I fail to trust--I fail to trust God most of all, and myself, my closest friends, my boyfriend, parents, and roommates. I've spoken to many people about this, and I simply do not buy the argument that my trust must have once been violated and it has scarred me for life. I can believe that this is true for some people some of the time, but I find our society's emphasis on Freudian analysis of all aspects of individual life quite tiresome. I've certainly had quite a few experiences of violated trust that have left an impact on me, but I also believe in the power of the Ressurection, and in the power of God to lift his children out of a state of perpetual distrust into a healthier, more trusting state.

That all being said, this came up because I had to take Luke to the airport this morning and say good-bye to him for nearly three months. There is a possibility that I may be able to see him once in June and/or July, but neither is gauranteed and both would cost a fair amount of money which I'm not sure I possess. Anyway, we woke up this morning in my room, despite my roommate's disconcertingly immature assumption that no "boys" should ever sleep over, ever, as if we're still on a middle school youth group trip and the boys and girls have to sleep in seperate rooms. So, to avoid the wrath of my roomies, Luke snuck out the back door and rang the doorbell in front and acted like he'd just arrived. He packed while I ran to pick up some juice (his first words in the morning are almost always "juice" or "I have to pee"), and then we were off.

The drive was quiet. I had already cried once this past weekend, a couple different times last night and this morning (only one of which Luke actually knew about), and we both knew what was coming. He kept his hand on my leg the whole time I was driving, which is one of my favorite things, and we rode in silence. We parked and unloaded the car in record time--my least favorite part of airports is how that stupid loop works, how you can't be there for more than thirty seconds before some TSA person comes over and shoos you away--and I burst into tears. The moment had come, and I cried with as much control as I could muster. Luke thanked me for being a good woman and for taking care of him, and I thanked him for being wonderful and made him promise to call me. His shirt was wet by the time we stopped hugging and kissing. Unfortunately, I had to get to work so I couldn't stay longer, but that was probably a good thing in the long run.

I need to trust for the next few months. I need to trust God to take care of both of us, to watch over us and protect our relationship through this long-distance phase, and to lift our spirits and allow this time to create an even stronger bond between us. I need to trust Luke to be faithful, to call, to take care of himself, and to come back to me refreshed. I need to trust myself to be faithful, to be the woman I know that I am and to take care of myself, and not to freak out (as is somehow ingrained in my nature). It will be okay, whatever that means, and I need to take some deep breaths and remember that life continues. Though life runs its course and we are mere blades of grass bending and flattening in the wind, God is sovereign over all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Of late, I have been experiencing some difficulty in the way I approach my blog. I went through a period of time in which it was nearly impossible for me to write anything, which does happen on occasion. Later I wondered if I should even continue writing posts because I felt like what I was writing was entirely silly and useless, or worse, whiney and pathetic. However, I've decided that given that my best girlfriends are away for the summer and Luke will be travelling until August, it makes sense to write the occasional post so that my long-distance friends can keep up with me on some level (although certain people who know who they are still need to give me their address so that we can be penpals). That being said, here are some highlights from the past few weeks...

* I got a job working at Magnuson Campus Center Desk. North Parkers will appreciate this, but for those of you who are wondering what a "Magnuson" is, it just means that I am essentially the switchboard operator for the university. I also answer the Security "hot line" and take care of the Campus Center in general. I am actually really enjoying my job because I get to work with really wonderful people (my boss is great, everyone on staff is great, and the security heads are great) and although it seems simple, there is enough to remember that I feel sufficiently challenged. And I get to read and crochet for HOURS.

* I am officially moved out of my parents' house, which is strange and wonderful. It feels really weird to visit them because we both acknowledge that that is indeed what I am doing when I go to their house, but at the same time, I love my apartment and I would much rather live here in the city with my friends than out in the 'burbs with no friends. I love my family very much, but living with them is simply not the same as being around the people who know my present self the best and are intimately acquainted with the goings-on of my life.

* I've decided to become an actual woman and learn how to do things for myself that I've not yet learned. This mainly includes frightening forays into the as of yet unexplored world of cooking. Thus far, I've learned how to cook meat so that it doesn't dry out and how to flavor it properly, and how to make a fantastic alfredo sauce from scratch. Other "womanly" learning that I'm doing includes sewing (which I can do, but don't really on a regular basis), re-learning to knit, repairing my bike by myself, and growing things. I really want to grow herbs to cook with so that I can feed two birds with one loaf.

* I'm planning on reading a lot this summer, but of course I know I won't get through everything that I would like to. That being said, I will certainly make a valiant effort to read as much as possible.

* Luke and I have been dating now for two months and things are going well. As is always the case when two very independent, intelligent, talented people attempt to synch their lives to the same rhythm, we've had our share of issues in the past two months--both externally and internally. None of these issues are insurmountable, however, and I am quite sure that we'll make it through them with God's help and with the aid of our stubborn wills.

* I haven't been to All Saints' on a Sunday in over a month and it's really depressing. I'm glad to be getting back this coming Sunday.

That's all. I'll try to remember to keep everyone posted on the goings-on of my life. In the meantime, I send all my love to my dearest friends. Peace be with you!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well, it has been quite an eventful six weeks since I've last written and I shall in no way attempt to recount those events here. Suffice it to say, I've been very very busy, but not with schoolwork. I have few complaints, actually, save this blasted paper that I've been trying to write.

It's really my fault because I should have been thinking about it all semester. I've certainly known about it all semester, including the due date...which was last Thursday. What happend, you ask? Well, let me tell you...

The class began to really irritate me with its monotony and the drudgery of listening to our professor go on and on about topics that I had not thought about and thus have no contribution for. In addition to this, it was Holy Week the week before the paper was due and I had services every day. AND I had no idea what I was going to write on and every time I thought I had it figured out, I would find some huge hole and/or change directions entirely.

So here I am, one class day after the paper was due (which translates to five calendar days, which makes me even more of a procrastinator), buried in a pile of books at a lonely table in a very empty, very quite corner of the library. I've been here since just before 8 o'clock and I'm fairly certain that I will still be here when the library closes at midnight. I spent the first two hours writing three paragraphs...

Pray for my soul!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

cocoa wheats

It's raining, I'm still in my pajamas at 10:15am, and I have no pressing engagements or tasks waiting for me. I couldn't imagine a better start to the day, truly. My mom and I are going recital dress shopping today before I go back to the city. She made me cocoa wheats for breakfast.

All of these things have served to remind me this fine morning of the simple beauty of life. My favorite things are usually the simplest, and I am quite possibly the most easily-excited person I know (with the possible exception of my twin-friend, Alethea). There are few things in life that I like better than playing in the rain, and the day is soon coming when I will be able to do so without risking pneumonia--and that day is calling.

Spring break has officially begun today, though mine began Thursday (tee-hee), and tomorrow my friends and I are leaving for a cabin in Iowa where we will spend the week sleeping in trees. Well, at least that's my plan. There is a monastery nearby where we'll go to Mass, and plenty of woods around in which to run!!

Truly, this will be a fantastic week and I can't wait! =)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the semi-Pelagian narrower catechism

Courtesy of the beloved Professor Mary (whose last name is here unlisted for the protection of her career), I present to you a link to the Semi-Pelagian Narrower Catechism. Go ahead, laugh your socks off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

epic coincidence

Last night was just full of exciting (and terrifying) surprises. I spent the entire afternoon working on my paper/presentation for my night class because I knew I would be going to dinner with Mary at 5:00. I finally got everything together and made my conference schedule for next week, emailed that to my cooperating professor, and ran over to the BTS office. Upon my arrival, I realized that I had left my laptop at home--kind of necessary for my presentation. So I RAN back to my apartment, got my laptop, and returned to the BTS office.

I was walking up the stairs to get my bag and pick up Mary when I ran into Joel, who said, "So, you're coming to dinner with us, eh?" Somewhat confused, I replied, " Uh...yeah, I guess so." When I got upstairs I gave Mary a quizzical look and she explained that she had gotten us a ride since it didn't make sense for us to go to Dawali and not sit with Joel and Brad. It sounded like a great idea to me, and that is how I ended up having dinner with three BTS professors last night.

The actual dinner was pretty sweet. It was as if my best friends had morphed into professors and we were just continuing our lives as usual. The guys were pretty theologically-focused as usual, with Mary and I commenting now and then, and all the while I was doing my best to redirect conversation a little bit (I have this irrational fear that someone will eventually discover that I never knew what I was talking about this whole time and will thus find me to be unintelligent). We discussed a lot of different things and shared great food together, and it was really fun to watch the three of them interact. There were some silences that I found to be awkward, but that doesn't mean they were awkward for them...I just hope I wasn't inhibiting conversation too much!

So, we all hopped back into Brad's car and made our way to campus. We all went in, including Mary who was not teaching a class, and I was slightly confused about that, but she did a stellar job of distracting me with pictures of her cute little cats. As we were walking up the stairs, Joel left us at the second floor and Brad and Mary and I walked into the classroom. I brilliantly said, "Are you coming to class today, Mary?" to which she replied, "Well, I heard there was going to be this really great presentation tonight" and then something about my reputation preceding me. I was terrified, but it went pretty well and everyone seemed to like it...

All in all, a very interesting evening, full of surprises. I'm interested to see what the backstory is since I didn't get a chance to ask yesterday...but I'll see Mary tomorrow! Haha!

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I tripped briskly across the street from my dropping-covered car toward the entrance on the corner. The double doors were spotless and beautifully decorated with a lady's profile. As I entered that delightful place, I was immediately enveloped in a glorious cashmere sweater of sights and smells that I had never before experienced. Such was the immaculate beauty of Julius Meinl.

Cindy took me today. I had never heard of the place, but everyone told me I would love it, and I'm always up for breakfast! It turns out that there are only five of these lovely little tea shops in the whole world, three of which are in Austria and two in Chicago--both relatively close to us. It's so bad. I seriously think that any "extra" money I might come across this semester is most definitely going to Julius Meinl. I think I'm addicted.

It was so beautiful! I had the bacon and swiss quiche and Cindy had fresh fruit (show-off) and fancy toast. It was good food, but the very best part was the Highland Toffee black tea she suggested. It was presented to us in these absolutely adorable teapots with cute little cream pitchers (I don't think that's what they're called, but I have no idea what else it might be) and has been a great source of joy for me this whole day.
I ended up buying a bag of this lovely tea for twenty cents more than I got the pot for...and I'm getting SO much more tea. It really is a good investment. Really.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

i love tuesday afternoons

Tuesdays are just fabulous for a variety of reasons. I mean, really, I'm a dork who loves to go to class and so that's what I do for most of the day. I get to see my friends, be outside, laugh, and play. The very best part of Tuesdays, however, are the afternoons.
I don't want to make any of my friends sad--our shennanigans in class are beautiful bright spots on the otherwise completely normal MRI of my life--but Tuesday afternoons are the greatest because I generally get to sleep and do homework during that time. Every other time that I would have the opportunity to participate in those activities, I would much rather be with the people I love. This is generally how things go, but this Tuesday was a bit different...

Instead of sleeping and doing my homework, I decided to go with Josh (and Cindy) to listen to our friend Matt's paper with Mary and Scot. His paper was AWESOME and he's presenting it at the SBL regional conference a week from Friday! We all had a great time drooling over Mary and Scot's conversation and their very loving critique of Matt's paper, and Cindy and I were imagining what it would be like in a few years when she and I can have conversations like that...then, Scot an I had a beautiful interchange that went something like this:

Me: "Wow, this was so cool. I just loved listening to you guys talk."
Scot: "Well, we thought we'd invite you so as to elevate you to a level of intellectualism to which you would not otherwise attain" (only less eloquently).
Me: (looking at my handful of teabag) "Um, I have this teabag in my hand that I could put right on top of your bald head."
*everyone laughing hysterically, Mary looking really surprised*
Scot: (pauses) "...maybe you should--it might give me some color!"

It was beautifully epic and I will never forget it.

So, by now you're probably thinking that I must be nearly finished with this story...too bad for you. After this lovely meeting and tons of laughs, Matt and Josh and I went back to my place for lunch with Christina. We're so creative that our lunch consisted of Aldi shells and cheese, eggs with various peppers and some onions and cheese, and water. Oh, and the boys had mint chocolate chip ice cream with rainbow sprinkles...which was ridiculous because only minutes before, Josh had started whining about how cold he was, so we gave him a "blankie". He thought he was pretty awesome...
I can't help thinking he looks like the Theotokos--all he needs is a little virginally-conceived baby in his arms...Matt thought he was pretty hilarious...

Seriously, I don't think we're mature enough for this. If we can't wrap ourselves in purple throws, how are we supposed to do dishes or wash our clothes or THINK! What do we DO??

And that is how I spent Tuesday. The End.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Inauguration 2009: Part 2

Okay, I know we're crazy. This is me and Jackie, a friend of mine from the good ol' days at Quizno's. I loved her and convinced her to come to NP with me (though she's transferring to Columbia next year because they have a better journalism program). We have fun together.
We are pictured here together while waiting for our bus to take us back home from DC. We had been standing at the inauguration all day--honestly, I sat down for about five seconds once to take a really cool picture, and that was it from the time I got off the bus to the time I got back on. Jackie and I could not WAIT to get back on that bus. We had had fun in DC, but we were so ready to get back to Chicago...
Wait a minute.
You don't know about DC yet.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

sunshine in friggin' january

Hello world! You know, life is full of paradoxes (and pseudo-cliches, apparently). A few days ago, I felt awful. My world was crashing down all around me, ruining my relationships, my sanity, my family, and my motivation. Which way is up? How do I solve this? What does it mean to trust God?
It is good to ask these questions if for no other reason than that it gives me a chance to remember what I learned last semester. Which was is up? God. How do I solve this? Obedience. What does it mean to trust God? Stop trusting myself--hello, the Creator of the universe has to know more than me. I could go on, delving into the realm of philosophical ponderings...but I really ought to be writing my interaction paper for my Jewish Backgrounds to the New Testament class.
Bottom line--I still have issues. In fact, I have more issues today than I did before (namely my recent discovery that my esophagus is fighting with my stomach), but the difference lies in how I've dealt with them. It is so easy to get discouraged and to be bogged down in the complications of life, but I need to remember that God really does have the whole world in his hands.

God shows up for me in the little things in life--a ladybug on a blade of grass, a quiet moment in a field during a thunderstorm, a smile between good friends passing one another in the hallway, and quotes on the quote wall(s). This morning my girlfriends and I (well, mostly Alethea) whipped up a fantastic breakfast of chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter and shared this high-calorie joy over hot tea and cider. After a few failed attempts at getting Becky's attention, we yelled for her, "Hey, Becky! Are you going to eat?!" to which she responded in true Becky fashion, "OOOOOh! Look! My slippers match my shirt!" My friends are beautiful. Following this blessed repast, Alethea and I rushed to work to find absolutely no potential tutees and thus decided to fill our time with the crafting of three-dimensional snowflakes, pictured here:

Essentially, Alethea and I are awesome. I made one large snowflake and one medium snowflake, and Alethea made two large and one medium! Carol was so happy. She came up while we were making them a took a bunch of pictures so that we would have photo-directions to use to teach people how to make them when they come to our Writing Center conference (for peer tutors and Writing Center directors, not like peer conferences). It was great. Our hands were beautiful. In fact, I would put a picture of Alethea's face up, but it occurred to me that she may not appreciate being so displayed on the internet, so I will forego that particular embarassment. But she's very beautiful, inside and out, and I will hopefully have her permission soon to put up georgous pictures of her. =)
That was a very long sidetrack--the point is, when I find myself buried in the cares of the world, I am always reminded of God's sovereignty and of the beauty he created in everything. My friends, nature, work, play, suffering, life, death, sorrow, pain, joy, new birth...all of these are part of our lives, and God sanctifies and blesses each and every one.
"For we know that God works all things together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose...If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:28, 31

Sunday, January 25, 2009

whining: the slight interruption

I'm not particularly fond of weekends. I know it sounds crazy--college student, single, livin' it up, right? Well, the problem with weekends is that I am inevitably reminded of those things which I should do but that I do not do. That, and it often happens that all of my motivation disappears and I don't really get any work done or accomplish much, or see my friends for that matter. This weekend was one of those weekends. I don't generally like to be whiney in my posts, but it is authentically me at the moment, and there's no use pretending everything's okay.

I guess my issues aren't really that big on the surface. There are basically three: 1) I don't feel like calling my mom, but I haven't talked to her in a while and I know I should; 2) I don't feel like doing my homework; 3) I have roommate issues. Beneath the surface, however, these three issues are actually quite a lot more complicated. I don't really want to get into it, but if you use your imagination, I bet you'll figure something out.

The point is not that I'm sitting on my haunches--it's okay for a person to do that sometimes. The point is that I have an aversion to doing anything that might potentially be painful. Last semester was quite scarring for me (though I was rescued by the grace of God and my beautiful friends), and so now I spend a lot of time trying to avoid pain, which is ridiculous because pain will catch up with us whether we want it to or not. There is no escaping life. It's difficult, but anything worth having is worth working for and failing at every now in then. In fact, many people are aware that pain is a necessary part of growth and maturity, and without it I would remain an awkward child my whole life. So, essentially, I am avoiding the inevitable.

Really, when I sit down to think about it, all of those issues could and probably would eventually be resolved. It is simply the path that would take me there that I am trying to avoid...

Well, I don't think I really made a point in this post, but I have decided to call my mom, for what it's worth.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inauguration 2009 Part I: On the road

After an eventful day of driving to Hyde Park, embarrassing myself by being the only non-Orthodox to go up for a blessing during the Liturgy, rushing back home after a fabulous lunch, and frantically finishing my homework, I am now nearly ready to rush off to DC. I'll be leaving at exactly 6pm. There will definitely be a chroniclization of my adventures (with my new camera!) coming very soon...